Do You Need Graphics Card For Game Development? [Answered]

Do you need a graphics card for game development? A graphics card is important hardware for game development.

It directly determines how demanding or complex the game you want to be developed to be. A weak graphics card won’t allow you to develop high resolution and demanding games.

A powerful graphics card lets you do that. In this article, we highlight important reasons why you need a graphics card for game development.

System Requirements For Game Development Software

Unity

Minimum requirementsWindowsmacOSLinux (Support in Preview)
Operating system versionWindows 7 (SP1+) and Windows 10, 64-bit versions only.High Sierra 10.13+Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and CentOS 7
CPUX64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set supportX64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set supportX64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support
Graphics APIDX10, DX11, and DX12-capable GPUsMetal-capable Intel and AMD GPUsOpenGL 3.2+ or Vulkan-capable, Nvidia and AMD GPUs.
Additional requirementsHardware vendor officially supported driversApple officially supported driversGnome desktop environment running on top of X11 windowing system, Nvidia official proprietary graphics driver or AMD Mesa graphics driver. Other configuration and user environment as provided stock with the supported distribution (Kernel, Compositor, etc.)
   For all operating systems, the Unity Editor is supported on workstations or laptop form factors, running without emulation, container or compatibility layer.

Unreal Engine

Operating System
Windows 10 64-bit
Processor
Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster
Memory
8 GB RAM
Video Card/DirectX Version
DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 compatible graphics card

Do You Need Graphics Card For Game Development?

Yes, you need a graphics card for game development regardless of whether it’s an integrated or dedicated graphics card.

Because without a graphics card you wouldn’t have anything displaying on your screen in the first place.

Graphics cards are responsible for handling and computing graphics data. It’s what makes it possible for your display to show graphical information.

However, when it comes to game development the question is more of do you need an integrated or dedicated graphics card?

The type of graphics card you need greatly depends on the game being developed. Simple games or games that require lots of graphics computing power require only integrated graphics cards to run smoothly.

On the other hand, the more complex and demanding the being developed the more powerful the graphics card should be.

Such games require dedicated graphic cards which are more powerful than integrated and do a far better job at handling graphics.

Unity and Unreal Engine recommend dedicated graphic cards in their system requirements. Don’t know which graphics card to get?

You can read our list of the best GPUs for game development or if you develop games on your laptop read the best laptop for game development or best desktops for game development.

What To Look For When Getting a GPU for Game Development

Here are a few things to know when getting a new GPU for game development:

Clock Speed

Just like CPUs, GPUs also have clock speeds. Clock speed is how fast a GPU can complete instructions and it’s measured in GHz or MHz.

The faster the clock speed the faster an instruction is completed and powerful GPUs have high clock speeds. However, you can’t depend solely on clock speed to judge the performance of a GPU.

For example, the RTX 2060 has a clock speed of 1365 MHz. The GTX 1650 has a clock speed of 1485 MHz which is high than the RTX 2060.

But, we all know which graphics card is more powerful. Don’t only look at clock speed when judging the performance of a graphics card.

NVIDIA CUDA Cores or Stream Processors

Just like how CPUs have their own cores. GPUs also have cores except that GPU cores are far more numerous than CPU cores. Furthermore, the more powerful the GPU. The higher number of cores it has.

For example, the RTX 2060 has 1920 NVIDIA CUDA Cores whiles the RTX 2070 Super has 2304 NVIDIA CUDA Cores.

Also, NVIDIA calls their cores NVIDIA CUDA cores whiles AMD refer to theirs as Stream processors.

VRAM

Just like how having a lot of RAM helps in system performance and multitasking. VRAM is RAM specifically used by the GPU.

That means the more VRAM a GPU has the more it can handle graphical loads. At the same time, it allows you to game on multiple monitors and higher resolutions.

Graphic cards with a high amount of VRAM are more often powerful cards.

For example, the RTX 2060 has 6GB of VRAM whiles the GTX 1650 has 4GB VRAM. The RTX 2080 Ti has a whopping 11GB RAM.

Memory Bandwidth

To put it simply, it’s how fast the GPU can transfer data. The higher this number (measured in GB/s) the more powerful the graphics card and the faster the data transfer.